16 Best Things to do in Puerto Princesa (Travel Guide)

Last updated on July 11th, 2019 at 03:31 pm

things to do in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan. The beaches aren´t very popular in the downtown area. Puerto Princesa is popular for the Underground River, one of the 7 wonders of the old world and UNESCO Site. There are many things to do in Puerto Princesa apart from the Underground River. Since we stayed in the city part of Puerto Princesa we used the time to work and to watch and join the people in their local life.

Read here our Balabac Travel Guide and  how to get to Balabac from Puerto Princesa!

Read here things to know before visiting Balabac!

Read here full blog post how to get to Puerto Princesa City!

Puerto Princesa Travel Guide

How to get to Puerto Princesa

There are various ways you can go to Puerto Princesa. It will always depend on where you’re traveling from flights, vans and bus. We will explain them below.

How to get to Palawan by plane

The fastest way to reach Puerto Princesa is by plane. There are flights from all over the country and the world that land at Puerto Princesa International Airport from airlines like Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and Philippine Airlines. If you’re coming from Manila and Cebu, you can reach Puerto Princesa in an hour and 15 minutes on the plane. There are also flights within Palawan from Puerto Princesa to El Nido that only last 30 minutes. If you’re coming from Boracay you can book flights to Puerto Princesa.

Check SkyScanner for the best airfare deals before you travel!

How to get to Puerto Princesa by boat

There are scheduled boat trips from Manila to Puerto Princesa if you want to travel on the sea. This is a much cheaper option than flying but obviously takes longer than a plane. Every Thursday, Negros Navigation has trips to Puerto Princesa while the Super Ferry goes to the island every Friday. The trip takes around 18-22 hours.

Travel Tip: Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.

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Best time to visit Palawan

This island destination in the Philippines is best enjoyed during the dry season. During this time, visitors can go on different tours, swim in the beautiful waters and enjoy the sun in Puerto Princesa. The best time to visit Puerto Princesa is around October to June since the rain usually falls in the middle of the year. However, Palawan’s wet season does not have typhoons that directly hit the island so going on those months might still be fun.

Click here to check the weather in Puerto Princesa!

Transportation around Puerto Princesa

The island of Palawan receives many tourists every year as one of the hottest destinations in the Philippines. So, you can expect going around the island to be relatively easy and surprisingly cheap. You can ride the jeepney or the tricycle both costing 10 PHP for the first 4 km. Cars, scooters and vans are also available for rent. Those who want to go island hopping can get on the many boats that travel daily in and out of Palawan for 1,250 PHP. If you want to book a day trip with the tuk tuk to explore all the things to do in Puerto Princesa will cost you 700-900 PHP.

Click here if you want to get your discount booking activities in Palawan, the Philippines with Klook!

Wifi and Internet Connection in Puerto Princesa

If you are a digital nomad like us or you need to do some work online, do it in Puerto Princesa where the connection is more reliable than the other places in Palawan. We spent many hours working to make sure we can enjoy El Nido and the other places around Palawan like Port Barton and Balabac.

Puerto Princesa will offer the best connection that you will find in Palawan. You will get strong wifi in hotels and coffee shops. Also data works properly with 4G with Smart and Globe. Once you leave Puerto Princesa for the other destinations the connection will be weak in El Nido, Balabac, Port Barton and Coron.

 Click here if you want to know the best Filipino sim for tourist!

ATMs and Currency in Palawan

The Philippines, like many Asian destinations, are much cheaper especially for tourists coming in from Western countries. The country uses the Philippine Peso for monetary transactions, where $1 USD = 54 PHP, more or less. Click here to check the exchange rate between your country and the Philippines. Since Palawan is already an urbanized and frequently visited destination in the Philippines, you can expect to find plenty of ATMs all over the province. Puerto Princesa has several ATMs by MetroBank, Union Bank, Philippine National Bank (PNB), Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Daily budget for travel in Puerto Princesa

Palawan Travel: Street food

You can visit Puerto Princesa even with a limited budget. There are plenty of food, accommodations and activities that you can try in Palawan during your trip. A decent meal in the island in a local eatery can go for as low as 70 PHP while eating at a restaurant can cost around 230 PHP a meal with drinks. If you’re eating at a resort restaurant, you can pay up to 500 PHP for a very hearty meal. A bottle of local beer like San Miguel Pale Pilsen or Red Horse goes for 40-80 PHP.

If you’re planning to go on tours, there are all sorts of packages for various companies that you can enjoy. A boat tour with a group can start at 1,000 PHP or joining Underground River tour can cost less than 2000 PHP.

You won’t run out of accommodation options when you visit Puerto Princesa. There are guest houses, hostels and inns that cost around 700-1,500 PHP while bigger resorts cost around 1,700-5,000 PHP. Seafront establishments with excellent views and ambience start at 7,000 PHP. Aside from all those amazing options, you can also book an entire house or apartment with AirBnB! We love the choices they have in Puerto Princesa that start from as low as 700 PHP per night. Cool, right? What’s even cooler is you can Click here to get a great deal off your first booking with AirBnB!



Things to do in Puerto Princesa

A few of the things to do in Puerto Princesa are inside the city. You can book a tricycle for a day trip for 700 PHP to check the main tourist spots in Puerto Princesa. Other things to do in Puerto Princesa like beaches or Underground River will require you to take transportation outside the city.

1. Eat Crocodile Sisig

Crocodile Sisig
Image Source

There are other few things here that you won’t see in other places in the Philippines like the Crocodile Sisig. That was a new find for us! And since we are from Angeles City we had to try and compare. It was great since we love it sisig.

2. Visit Local Markets

street market purto princesa

Some of our favorite things in every new city is visiting local markets. You will find the best prices in a local atmosphere. There are fruits, juices and local carinderias. The New Market in Puerto Princesa is very close to the Bus Terminal. If you are dropping by, there is no excuse for not visiting.

3. Visit Underground River

One of the most popular thing to do when you travel Palawan is visiting Puerto Princesa underground River. It was a part of the 7 wonders of the old world for its natural beauty. How go there? You need to head to Sabang which is 2 hours driving from Puerto Princesa. You can book tours starting from 1,300- 1,500 PHP and you can DIY for 1,000 PHP. ($1=50 PHP). Puerto Princesa’s underground river is magical, it is under the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will find birds and monkeys in the watershed. The trip will be amazing and fulfilling because the underground river is one of the longest navigable rivers in the world.

When visiting the Underground River you can also enjoy Sabang Beach if you are staying in the area. It’s a nice beach to spend the day.

Click here if you want to get your discount booking activities in Palawan, the Philippines with Klook!

4. Palawan Special Battalion

things to do in Puerto Princesa, World War Museum
Image Source

If you’re fond of history, you would surely love this place as it en-captures a moment in Philippine’s history. The museum has a rich world war II that you may enjoy, very informative and very entertaining.

5. Sunset Baywalk Park

Sunset Baywalk Park, things to do in Puerto Princesa,
Image Source

Puerto Princesa’s sunset is really beautiful. Take a walk on Baywalk Park, eat, and enjoy the sunset at the bay. Don’t forget to take pictures.

6. Go to Dos Palmas Island

The Dos Palmas Island is a secluded sanctuary just across Honda Bay. Dos Palmas Island is very relaxing and tranquil. Also, you’d love the various species of corals, fish, and others on the island. Surely, an island that is an experience of its own. Click here if you want to book a luxury experience in Dos Palmas!

7. Whaleshark in Puerto Princesa

whaleshark in Puerto Princesa, things to do in Puerto Princesa

If you are lucky, you might be able to spot a whale shark in Puerto Princesa. It might be harder for you to find whale sharks in Puerto Princesa but the best season is from April to November

More Things to do in Puerto Princesa

8. Visit Nagtabon Beach

Nagtabon Beach, things to do in Puerto Princesa
Image Source

Nagtabon Beach is really a charmer because it is not famous yet, although soon, it will be. Also, you could surf on Nagtabon. You’ll also love the crystal clear water that’s also really loved by tourists.

9. Enjoy Kamia Bay Inflatable Island

Kamia Bay Inflatable Puerto Princesa, things to do in Puerto Princesa

Unleash the kid in you and visit the Kamia Bay’s Inflatable Island. Jump, slide and just have fun. The island has lots of other different activities as well like kayaking, eco tours, and many more. Entrance fee is 600 PHP included buffet lunch.

10. A Tour with Fireflies in Iwahig

Fireflies in Puerto Princesa, things to do in Puerto Princesa
Image from Wikimedia

The fireflies in Iwahig are really beautiful and magical. Honestly, this might be a seasonal opportunity. There are nights that there are only a few fireflies that would make the trip bad. Otherwise, it will be an experience of your life. You can click below to book tours starting from 1300 PHP.

Click here if you want to get your discount booking activities in Palawan, the Philippines with Klook!

11. Refresh at Tibag Falls

The Tibag falls is actually not high but is composed of cascades. It is an instagrammable place that would surely leave you in awe. Also, there’s a sense of exclusivity from this place that you’ll love. There is no entrance be and it will take you 30-40 minutes to get there from the bus terminal around 50 PHP will cost the transportation.

12. Zipline, Trail Walk & Spelunking

Zipline in Puerto Princesa

There are tours available that are catering to adventurers who would love to walk on a trail to observe the richness of biodiversity Puerto Princesa has. Also, spelunking is a good idea as Puerto Princesa has lots of good caves. Lots of travel tours also have zip lines that are surely an adventure of itself. The fee for the zip line is 150 PHP.

13. Go to Arena Island Turtle Sanctuary

The Arena Island Turtle Sanctuary prides itself on being a beautiful place, a sort of a haven that you could relax into. You will also enjoy the food being served in the place. If you’re lucky, you might encounter a turtle egg hatching.

14. Hike up Mt. Magarwak

Mt. Magarwak, things to do in Puerto Princesa

Mt. Magarwak is very near from the Bayan. You could go here on a thirty-minute ride. The hike is also relatively easy but the views atop are irreplaceable. Also, the ambiance of the place is relaxing so you won’t feel pressure from hiking at all. Click here to book the activity with Klook!

15. Drink craft beer at Palaweño Brewery

Palaweño Brewery puerto princesa

The Palaweno Brewery has lots of different beers that you may want to try. Tourists and locals visit this place because of the friendly staff and their beers. There are also wings, fries and many more.

16. Visit Iwahig Prison one of the most idyllic prisons in the country

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm
Image from Wikipedia

Remove all your pre-assumed notions of prisons and visit Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm. You would find prisoners selling souvenirs, dancing and engaging with tourists. You don’t need to feel alarmed because there are still security measures in place. It is just a great opportunity to find humanity in your travel/trip in an unusual place. It just 15 kilometers far from the city. You will have to use private transportation to get there and there is no entrance fee.

Where to Stay in Puerto Princesa

The Conial Puerto Princesa, where to stay in Balabac

For our staying we chose a new hotel The Colonial a small boutique hotel close to the beach. We loved staying close to the beach for sunset, sunrise and especially when we are traveling with Han since he loves it. The hotel is so beautiful and we love it the restaurant with the small pool. Food was delicious and internet working amazing before our trip to Balabac.

The Conial Puerto Princesa, where to stay in Puerto Princesa, breakfast in Puerto Princesa

The Conial Puerto Princesa, where to stay in Puerto Princesa, breakfast in Puerto Princesa

The Conial Puerto Princesa, where to stay in Puerto Princesa, beach in Puerto Princesa

If you are wondering about the staff we have no words for them. We were leaving at 3 am and they took care of us. Since wake up call and also they prepared an amazing Filipino breakfast for takeaway. What a surprise!

Click here to check prices and availability!

Food to try in Palawan

We already mentioned crocodile sisig as one of our unique finds in Puerto Princesa, but the island has more to offer when it comes to food. Here are our top picks of food to try in Puerto Princesa:

Enjoy the seafood in Palawan

Things to do in Palawan, Places to visit in Palawan, Food to try in Palawan, Seafood in Palawan
Seafood in Palawan (© Elizabeth Phung – Flickr)

A trip to any coastal destination will not be complete without trying out the seafood. In Puerto Princesa there are many different kinds of top quality fish like tuna, blue marlin and seabass. Other fresh catches include crab, lobster, shrimp and squid. Just thinking about all that makes my stomach grumble!

Try tamilok

Image Source

Tamilok is an exotic dish made from woodworms collected from mangroves. This soft, slimy delicacy actually tastes like oysters and are eaten fresh. Some are even fortunate enough to eat tamilok straight from the tree!

Have a plate of lato

Things to do in Palawan, Places to visit in Palawan, Food to try in Palawan, Lato, Seaweed
Lato (© rosskevin756 – Flickr)

Lato is a popular side dish in most beaches in the Philippines. Known in English as “green caviar,” lato is a seaweed that’s often served with salt or vinegar and perfectly matches grilled and fried food. It’s soft and strangely crunchy, a definite must-try in Puerto Princesa!

Try halo-halo

Things to do in Palawan, Places to visit in Palawan, Food to try in Palawan, Halo-halo
Halo-halo (© lorelei – Flickr)

A real classic during the summer in the Philippines is halo-halo (literally “mix-mix”), a refreshing snack typically served in a tall glass that’s made with crushed ice, sugar, sago (similar to tapioaca pearls), gulaman (jelly-like dried agar), bananas, sweet beans and pinipig (pounded and toasted glutinous rice). Ice cream or milk flan is usually added on top and milk is poured before serving. Eating halo-halo in a hot summer day is one of the best things to do in Puerto Princesa!

Festivals in Palawan

Baragatan sa Palawan

If you’re staying in Palawan on the third week of June, you’re just in time for the Baragatan sa Palawan festival! This week-long fiesta is a celebration of the province’s rich culture and history and honors Palawan’s daily life. It is basically a thanksgiving festival on one of the world’s best islands where numerous activities are held. There are beautiful floats, photo contests, sports competitions, quiz bees, beauty pageants and concerts throughout the week of Baragatan.

Pagdiwata Tribal Ritual

Want a meaningful, deeply rooted experience in Palawan? Then head on out to Aborlan in December and witness locals give thanks with a spiritual event during the full moon. Pagdiwata is a combination of a thanksgiving festival and a healing ceremony. Aroblan also has many beaches and mountainous areas for you to explore if ever you come visit.

Tarak Festival

Another festival that truly honors Palawan’s heritage and local culture is Tarak, an event that celebrates the indigenous people of the island. The name combines two of the most important indigenous tribes in the province of Palawan, the Tagbanua and the Batak tribes. The ritual dances and activities are also held in Aborlan and is also celebrated in the full moon, but this time in January. Traditional tribal dances, woven clothing and handmade accessories are highlighted during Tarak and are meant to cast away evil spirits and invokes god’s blessings.

You can  book an entire house or apartment with AirBnB! Click here to get a great deal off your first booking with AirBnB!



Click here if you want to get your discount booking activities in Palawan, the Philippines with Klook!

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Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. He believes in travel without money. Recently, he finished a bicycle trip, 9500 km, from Madrid to North Cape.

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